NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Food stocks are hot. If you need proof of this, think of the battle over Hillshire Brands that started when it announced it was buying Pinnacle Foods (PF) until Tyson Foods (TSN) and others went after Hillshire. Tyson Foods won.
So investors with an appetite for food stocks can do their due diligence in a number of ways. Those who like getting "up close and personal" were in Chicago for FMI Connect, The Global Retail Food Experience.
Companies with exhibits at the conference ending Friday ranged from prominent blue-chips Kraft (KRFT) , Hershey Co. (HSY) , Mondelez International (MDLZ) and Kellogg (K) to promising smaller companies. For value, income and growth investors, looking at the food sector, there was something for everyone.
Here's how some of the big companies have been doing:
Kraft Foods is up for the last week, month, quarter, six months and year of market action. It shares are trading around $59, up 9.4% for the year to date.
Even with those impressive gains, Kraft Foods still has a tasty dividend: a yield of around 3.50% when the average for a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 is under 2%. Kraft has such famous brand names as Kool Whip, Kool Aid and Grey Poupon.
With about 60% of its sales from outside the United States, Kraft Foods is a good play on growth around the world.